Bill Maher has ruffled some feathers over recent comments that he made about Michael Brown, the teen who was shot dead by Ferguson cop Darren Wilson. This Saturday news report is one of the many that have been published with varying points-of-view. His most recent comments on the case have drawn attention because of the words he used — and some people are accusing him of racism, which isn’t the first time in his career. After scolding officers in the Ferguson Police for donning bracelets in support of Darren Wilson, he turned his criticism to folks who blindly believe that Brown was an innocent victim in a racially-fueled killing. He said the following:
“I’m sorry, but Michael Brown’s people say he is a gentle giant. Well, we saw of when he was in that 7-11. No, he wasn’t a gentle giant. He was committing a robbery and he pushed that guy. He was acting like a thug, not a gentle giant. He certainly didn’t deserve to be shot for it.”
Maher is absolutely correct to point out the surveillance footage showing Brown robbing a convenience store. Even though his family has claimed that it would be used to make him look bad, it is perhaps the only authentic piece of evidence accurately showing the 18-year-old man’s behavior in the moment’s leading up to his death. His family has referred to him as a “gentle giant” but the evidence shows that he was anything but that.
Then there is the recent review of his autopsy report that supports the officer’s version of what went down that day. There is also the fact that several residents of Ferguson have confirmed Darren Wilson’s story in private with officials — but are too scared to support him publicly due to the backlash that could result from it.
Is it racist to call Michael Brown a thug?
That’s the question that should be fully addressed since people are calling Bill Maher racist. The definition of a thug is plainly simple — a violent criminal. There is no race attached to this word other than for the past few decades of racism against blacks with the word becoming synonymous with the black youth who are involved in gangs and drug violence. It is clear that the word has been used with racial intent, and it’s clear that some racist people use this word to describe any black person whether it’s a fitting title or not. However, Michael Brown was behaving in a violent manner while breaking the law in the surveillance footage showing him rob that convenience store. He was very clearly displaying the behavior of a thug, and according to several witnesses and the officer who ultimately shot him, that behavior did not change — not even up until he died.
What Bill Maher said probably wasn’t racist, but it wasn’t politically correct either — and that’s just what makes him Bill.